Adams Family Correspondence, volume 10

John Adams to Charles Adams, 24 December 1794 Adams, John Adams, Charles
John Adams to Charles Adams
Dear Charley Philadelphia Decr 24. 1794

Our Patriots are so anxious lest Aristocracy should take root, that I wonder they do not eradicate all the seeds of it. instead of Addressing Mr Speaker, they should address Freddy Mulenbourg— instead of talking of the Gentleman from Virginia they should quote Billy Giles &c &c &c

The Purity of this Symplicity has always appeared among Insurgents. In Chaises and Bradfords Patriotick Efforts I dare say that Gaffer and Gammar, Mr and Mrs were laid aside.1

There is an historical Poem or Chronicle of the Insurrection in the Reign of Richard the Second, written by Sir John Gower, in which this delicious Naivete, this beautiful Simplicity is perfectly preserved. The Title of the Poem is Vox clamantis.

The following Catalogue of the Leaders of the Insurgents is inimitable, but it ought as far as possible to be imitated, by our modern Insurgents.

Watte vocat, cui Thome venit, neque Symme retardat, Bitteque, Gibbe, Simul Hykke, venire jubent. Colle furit, quem Gibbe juvat nocumenta parantes, 320 Cum quibus ad damnum Wille coire vovit. Grippe rapit, dum Daive Strepit, comes est quibus Hobbe Lorkin, et in medio non minor esse putat. Hudde ferit quos Judde terit, dum Tibbe juvatur Jakke domos que viros vellit, et ense necat &c &c.2

When this or something like it, Shall be adopted as a Model for the Debates of our Legislators, We may hope that We shall be out of Danger of Titles and Aristocracy.

This must be quite a Secret between you and me: but I will laugh a little with my Children at least, at the Follies of the Times.


RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.).


That is, Daniel Shays of Shays’ Rebellion in Massachusetts in 1786, and David Bradford of the recent Whiskey Rebellion. Bradford (b. ca. 1760), a lawyer and deputy attorney general for Washington County, Penn., became one of the leaders of the rebellion. In Oct. 1794 George Washington’s troops were ordered to arrest Bradford, but he escaped into the wilderness and eventually made his way to Louisiana, where he lived out the remainder of his life (Slaughter, Whiskey Rebellion, p. 183–185, 216, 267).


Wat calls, Tom comes to him, and Sim does not loiter behind. Bet and Gib order Hick to come at once. Col rages, whom Geff helps to do damage. Will swears to join with them for mischief. Grigg grabs, while Daw roars and Hobb is their partner, and Lorkin intends no less to be in the thick of things. Hudd strikes while Tebb threatens those whom Judd tramples on. Jack tears down houses and kills men with his sword (John Gower, Vox Clamantis [The Voice of One Crying], ch. 11, in The Major Latin Works of John Gower, transl. Eric W. Stockton, Seattle, 1962, p. 67).

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 25 December 1794 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dearest Friend Phila. Christmas Day 1794

This being one of the pleasant Days of the Week, Thursday the Post brought me your kind Letter of the 16th.— The News of The Alfred was written me the Day or next Morning of its Arrival in Boston by our ever kind and attentive friends Dr Welch and Mr Smith, and I should have instantly written it to you, with great Joy if I had not known, that you must have had it, much sooner than I from the Same Sources. Although there is a feeling of Disappointment, accompanies the Intelligence, arising from not having any direct Account of our sons, yet the high probability of the Safe Arrival of the ship, is a great Consolation. I congratulate you upon it, with cordial Sympathy, and join with you most Sincerely in your devout Ejaculation for the health & safety of our sons.


The Case mentioned in Brislers Letter contains the Marble Medallion as brittle as it is elegant.

The Weather is as beautiful, as mild, soft clear and wholesome as can be imagined: but We had lately a North East Wind and Rain, which I hope has thrown up, on the shores of Quincy a fresh supply of Seaweed. I want to have the mowing ground opposite to Pennimans and Hardwicks upon Pens hill covered with it, if possible

I am delighted with the Activity and Energy with which the affairs of the farm have been conducted, since I left you— a few years of Such Exertions will make the Place productive of most of the Necessaries of Life for Us and I hope We shall be indulged with the quiet Enjoyment of it for as many Years as We can be useful to our Country our Friends or ourselves.

I have been to Church at Dr Ewings and heard a good sermon. Mrs Otis & Mrs Betcy are well.

The News of my Mothers Health and Activity is in a high degree delightful to me— My Duty to her

inclosed is a Book, a present for Louisa. a pretty Book it is.— a good Book.— I have very little fault to find with it, of any kind. His opinion of Grecian Taste in Arts & Literature are so exactly like my own, that he makes me regret, deeply regret, that the Avocations of my Life, have not permitted me, to pursue it with So much Attention as I always desired: but still more than I have not had Opportunity to impress it upon my sons, as I ought. They have better Opportunities and Means than I had.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Decbr 25. 1794.”